Turkish Company Yapı Merkezi Eyes More Africa Projects after Ethiopia, Tanzania Railways

PHOTO: Daily Sabah

Yapi Merkezi’s Financial Affairs Manager Murat Öcal says the Company’s first two African projects marked the beginning of its expansion in the fast-growing continent.

ADDIS ABABA (Anadolu Agency)–Turkish construction giant Yapi Merkezi hopes a $3 billion modern railway-line project it is building in Ethiopia and Tanzania will showcase its skills and make it a “trusted development partner” in Africa.

The consortium, which prides itself on successfully building some 2,600 kilometers of line (1,615 miles) and a dozen rail systems in different parts of the world, first set foot in the African infrastructure market with its Casablanca and Algiers light railway networks.

Financial Affairs Manager Murat Öcal told Anadolu Agency its first two African projects marked the beginning of its expansion in the fast-growing continent.

“The projects were completed on a high note, and showcased our competence and Turkish technological advancement,” he said.

The latest Ethiopian and Tanzanian standard-gauge railroad contract is the first African mega project for Yapi Merkezi, Öcal added.

The 3,910 km (2,430-mile) Awash-Kombolcha-Hara Gebeya single-line railway project which began in 2015 at a cost of $1.7 billion will link northern and eastern Ethiopia and also connect to a central rail network which stretches to the port of Djibouti. The railway is of crucial importance for landlocked Ethiopia, which has a population over 100 million, to have access to sea and major trade routes passing through the Bab al Mandab Strait.

According to the Ethiopian government’s Growth and Transformation Plan the line will enhance the country’s internal and external freight and passenger transportation capacity.

Construction of the first phase between Awash and Kombolcha, which consists of dozens of tall bridges and long tunnels, has been successfully completed, according to Öcal. When the project is totally completed in 2020 as planned, the company will have constructed 12 tunnels, 51 bridges, 14 overpasses and one underpass.

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“Overall, 50 percent of the project has been completed, whereas 83 percent of the first phase has been completed and during the test drive, a speed of over 100 kilometers was achieved, a first in Ethiopian history. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn also attended to the test drive,” Öcal said.

“The second phase needs additional financing, and hopefully the Ethiopian government will fix it and we will complete it in double-quick time,” he added.

Read the complete story at Daily Sabah
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